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Homecoming for Vijender Singh at Jaipur in WBO title defence

Jaipur holds a special place in Vijender Singh’s heart, and the Indian boxing star will be back in the city on December 23 to defend his WBO Oriental and Asia Pacific title against Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu

other sports Updated: Dec 18, 2017 13:59 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Vijender Singh,WBO Oriental and Asia Pacific title,Ernest Amuzu
Vijender Singh will face Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu in Jaipur on December 23(Getty Images)

When Vijender Singh, India’s only boxer to win an Olympic medal, defends his WBO Oriental and Asia Pacific title against Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu at Jaipur on December 23, it will be a sort of homecoming for him.

Just like former India skipper MS Dhoni, who spent his early days of struggle checking tickets at the Kharagpur railway station, Vijender too began his career checking tickets as Senior Ticket Collector at Jaipur in 2005.

“Jaipur has a special place in my life. I got my first job here only, with the Railways, and it supported me financially during my initial days in international circuit. So, I always wanted to have one of my professional bouts in Jaipur and finally it is going to happen,” said Vijender, who was last seen in action in August when he defeated China’s top boxer Zulpikar Maimaitiali in Mumbai to claim the WBO Oriental title.

“I have fond memories of my stay in Jaipur. Whenever we were off from the national camps, we had to join our duty and Jaipur used to be my destination. I still recall the days when I used to work as a ticket collector on the platforms of Jaipur railway station and the evenings were spent with my colleagues from Railways. I underwent one-and-a-half months of training (for ticket collector’s job) at Udaipur and many of my batch-mates are still posted in Jaipur. So, I am the same Vijender for them and they will all be coming out to support me at the December 23 fight,” says Vijender, who will be fighting his 10th professional bout.

“Before the 2008 Beijing Olympic medal, my biggest international medals came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Both came while I was working with the Indian Railways at Jaipur. I always used to get a warm welcome from my colleagues at the railway station whenever I returned after winning an international medal.”

In 2007, Vijender joined Haryana police as Inspector under sports quota and after creating history by becoming the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, he was promoted to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

“Though I was coming to Jaipur regularly between 2005 and 2007, I never got a chance to box in the city. Later I came, but only as a chief guest. So, it will be the first time I will be fighting in Jaipur. I hope to make Jaipur more memorable with defending the titles,” says Vijender.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 09:46 IST